Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Glamour model: Step in the right direction?

What is a model? Is it a pretty face? A ‘good’ body? If it is someone with a ‘good’ body, what is that? A girl who is skin and bones? I know that isn’t me, and it definitely isn’t the majority of America where the average size is a 14.

It is hard growing up as a girl in this country and being bombarded with those images. It takes a toll on young women- I know it did on me. Some companies are taking steps to help- Glamour magazine put this picture of Lizzi Miller in their latest issue to illustrate what a real woman looks like. Lizzi is a “plus size” model- although at a size 12/14 she is hardly plus size, in fact, in America, she is average. So I don’t get it, is average the new plus?

Lizzi Miller
Lizzi Miller

I applaud Glamour for putting Lizzi in their magazine and showing us real women but clearly we still have a ways to go. On the cover of the same issue that Lizzi proudly shows off her soft belly, the magazine teases an article inside about “3 Flat Belly Secrets.” Now isn’t that sending a bit of a mixed message?

I remember vividly being about 8 years old and posing in front of my mirror in my bedroom like a model- Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ was big back then (don’t judge me). At the time I thought I was pretty; my parents told me I was and I was too young to be affected by things in magazines and on TV.

I also remember that blissful ignorance disappearing at an early age as I entered what is now commonly referred to as my ‘tween’ years as I was barraged with images on television, in magazines, in ads at my favorite clothing stores and on my favorite pop singers. I wanted to get a perm because I wanted curly hair like Stephanie Tanner on Full House; then a few years later I had to have a straightener because I needed my hair to be as straight as Britney Spears. I was the first of my group of girlfriends to go through my growth spurt and as I struggled to fit into the teeny tiny clothes that they still squeezed into from stores like Abercrombie & Fitch, I would sit at home and look at the catalogue and wish I were as skinny as the bony models. I was 14. I look back now at the pictures of myself and think, ‘if only I could go back and talk to that girl and tell her…’

What do you think? Should more magazines show realistic images of women like Lizzi Miller?

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